Act III: Life and Death

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Act III: Life and Death
Studio album by The Dear Hunter
Released June 23, 2009
Recorded 2009
Genre Progressive rock, symphonic rock, experimental rock
Length 57:46
Label Triple Crown Records
Producer Casey Crescenzo
The Dear Hunter chronology
Random EP #2
Act III: Life and Death
The Branches EP
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AbsolutePunk (90%) [1]
Allmusic 4/5 stars[2]

Act III: Life and Death is the third studio album by American rock band The Dear Hunter, released on June 23, 2009. According to lead vocalist Casey Crescenzo, it is the third part of a six-act story,[3] following the original in 2006, Act I: The Lake South, the River North, and 2007's Act II: The Meaning of, and All Things Regarding Ms. Leading, and preceding Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise (2015). The album was produced by Casey Crescenzo and Andy Wildrick in the band's own studio in Providence, Rhode Island, with a number of musicians making guest appearances.[4]

As of July 1, 2009, the album had peaked on the Billboard 200 at #182 (the first time a Dear Hunter album ever cracked the top 200), #14 on the Billboard Top Heatseakers, and #31 on Top Independent Albums.[5]


Act III is the 3rd part in the Dear Hunter's six-act story. Previously in the story, the main character (the "Dear Hunter") fell in love with a prostitute named Ms. Leading. Soon after, the relationship falls apart and he leaves her due to his realization of her unfortunate profession. At the end of Act II, the two go their separate ways and it seems that Ms. Leading “has never been happier than she is now.” The main character, however, is still left with his 'history' and is trying to move on. In the beginning of Act III, the protagonist has become a soldier and is now fighting for his life in what seems an attempt to escape his past. Throughout the album, he is presented with numerous trials and ghosts from his past. Later in the album, the hero is saved from a mustard gas attack by an unnamed soldier. Coincidentally, the Dear Hunter finds his father while he is bragging about having a love affair in The Dime with other soldiers. The soldier who saved him is his half-brother. Moving further along in the war, the half-brother is killed in action and the protagonist sees his father show no remorse or sadness whatsoever, which enrages him. He poisons his father and steals his brothers identity, hoping to go live with his step-mother after the war is over because he is visually similar to the half-brother. The album ends with the hero reflecting on how his life has been spiraling downward and his hopes that "one of these days, he will learn to love again." [6]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Casey Crescenzo.

No. Title Length
1. "Writing on a Wall" 1:38
2. "In Cauda Venenum" 5:29
3. "What It Means to be Alone" 4:49
4. "The Tank" 4:39
5. "The Poison Woman" 4:51
6. "The Thief" 5:01
7. "Mustard Gas" 4:13
8. "Saved" 4:41
9. "He Said He Had a Story" 3:39
10. "This Beautiful Life" 4:05
11. "Go Get Your Gun" 3:15
12. "Son" 2:16
13. "Father" 3:25
14. "Life and Death" 5:45

Deluxe edition[edit]

The band released a deluxe edition of the album in a DVD-sized case that contained an autographed poster, picture-postcards with the lyrics to each song, and a storybook of the band's previous full-length album Act II: The Meaning of, and All Things Regarding Ms. Leading, which was illustrated by artist Kent St. John. In addition, the album came with four bonus tracks. The deluxe edition was only available through preorder of the album while supplies lasted, but was also seen at the merchandise table during The Dear Hunter's tour with Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground and mewithoutYou.

No. Title Length
1. "Writing on a Wall" (a capella) 1:40
2. "Untitled 1" 3:40
3. "Movement 1" 1:54
4. "Movement 2" 4:47

Music Video[edit]

The Dear Hunter, along with the help of artist Glenn Thomas, created an animated music video for their song "What It Means to Be Alone". Though the band still neglects to have an actual single, charting or otherwise, this is their second music video, the first being "The Church and the Dime" from their previous album.


  • Casey Crescenzo – vocals, piano, organ, synthesizer, guitar, bass, banjo, production, engineering
  • Andy Wildrick – guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals, engineering
  • Erick Serna – guitars, vocals
  • Nick Crescenzo – drums, percussion, vocals
  • Nate Patterson – bass
  • Mike Watts - Mixing

Additional Personnel[edit]

  • Austin Hatch – clarinet, saxophone
  • Pasquale Lanelli – saxophone
  • Dave Calzone – trombone
  • Andrew Mericle – trumpet
  • Samantha Conway – French horn
  • Charles Lidell – cello
  • Angela Preston – violin, viola
  • Mark Adelle – violin
  • Lynn Mira – harp
  • Mike Watts – mixing